of change and stability
Wenzler’s path from a regional special-purpose machine builder to a global solutions provider
August Wenzler Maschinenbau GmbH has been in family hands for almost 70 years. However, that is all that has remained constant over the years. Because even here, in tranquil Spaichingen, a lot has changed since August Wenzler founded the company in 1954. With passion and consistency, it has followed the path from a manufacturer of turned parts to a regional special-purpose machine builder to a global solutions provider – together with HELLER.
TEXT Sabine Muth PHOTOS August Wenzler Maschinenbau GmbH
It was Norbert Wenzler, son of founder August Wenzler, who developed the family business from a manufacturer of turned parts into a special-purpose machine builder. Today, the company is led by Wolfgang Wenzler, the third generation of the family, and renowned as a global problem solver. A new era in the company’s history began in 2009 when August Wenzler Maschinenbau GmbH became a family member of the HELLER Group. “The flexibility and innovative strength of a small medium-sized company combined perfectly with HELLER’s global presence. Today, this allows us to implement projects worldwide,” Wolfgang Wenzler is pleased to say.
In picturesque Spaichingen, at the foot of the Swabian Alb, the HELLER partner company employing 38 is in the best of company. The region is home to numerous small and medium-sized businesses specialising in metalworking. The small town below Mount Dreifaltigkeitsberg on the southern slopes of the Alb has a population of 13,000 people. It is a good place to live – and obviously also a place to be working from very successfully. “As a medium-sized company, we are able to respond quickly and flexibly to our customers’ requirements,” assures Wenzler. Requirements that follow a dynamic change.
Good from experience: machining centres for structural components made of aluminium
As far as the automotive industry is concerned, there is a clear trend towards using structural parts made of aluminium – for reasons of weight. This is where the company can play to its strengths. “Our decades of experience in the machining of aluminium and the design of processes has helped us a great deal in the transition from combustion engines to electromobility,” says Wolfgang Wenzler. With the VKM vertical 5-axis machining centre developed in 2010, structural components such as axle frames, subcarriers, crossmembers and longitudinal members in particular can be manufactured in a highly efficient manner, whereas the further developed VPM vertical machining centre is primarily designed for larger workpieces made of aluminium. In particular, sensor technology, coordinated scanning of the component and the clamping strategy offer high added value. Wenzler also developed numerous customised manufacturing solutions for the skateboard (vehicle substructure) as well as axle carriers, battery housings and chassis etc.
One of the company’s success factors is in-house production of all components requiring specific know-how. Among other things, the sophisticated assembly technology for coil screw-ins and robot-assisted deburring systems. The brand new ‘intelligent clamping fixture’ was presented for the first time at the HELLER Open House in May 2022. At the same time, HELLER standard assemblies, such as direct-driven rotary axes, are an integral part of the machines. The machining centres are delivered as turnkey products with everything that goes with them. The turnkey solutions are also tailored to Industry 4.0 concepts and a smart factory environment.
“We are not only doers, but also consultants on eye level.”
Consulting and engineering as well as process development are a natural part of the range of services. Communication with customers always takes place at eye level – direct, constructive and goal-oriented. Over the years, Wenzler has established itself as a solution provider and general contractor for the automotive industry.
Since joining the HELLER Group, a lot has changed: not only has sales been globally aligned since then; the company also benefits from the parent company in terms of administration, controlling, logistics, services etc.
“Together with HELLER, we have been able to establish ourselves as a competent partner for e-mobility components,” emphasises Wenzler. Still, the company is constantly faced with major challenges, which, among other things, can be attributed to the wide variety of components and the volatile quantities. In Wolfgang Wenzler’s view, three factors are crucial to overcome these hurdles: flexible sales, agile, courageous technical solutions and creative financial services. Hand in hand with HELLER, he expects to have good prospects in the future.